Gutu’s sanctions damascene moment – calls for removal

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By Staff Reporter

OPPOSITION MDC-T vice president Obert Gutu says he has had an epiphany and wants sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western powers over human rights violations and electoral fraud scrapped.

Gutu a crusading member of the opposition’s calls for sanctions against former President Robert Mugabe’s administration in a statement Monday, said he has realised the “so called targeted measures in fact hurt ordinary Zimbabwean more than the Zanu PF leadership they are intended to harm.”

The former Deputy Justice Minister during the Government of National Unity (GNU) said the interests of the country must create a point of collective patriotism for all citizens nomatter their political differences.

“Where the overall interests of Zimbabwe supersede and overtake my own private and personal interests, I don’t hesitate to sacrifice my personal interests for the common good of my beloved country and continent,” Gutu said.

“This is the major reason that informed how I reached my Damascus (sic) moment regarding the issue of sanctions against Zimbabwe. Here and now, I will fully admit that at one time, I was thoroughly misguided in actively supporting and actually calling for the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe.”

A former united MDC-T Senator for Harare before last year’s break-up after a succession chaos following the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Gutu said he had been naïve to support the call for sanctions and was now demanding their removal.

“At that juncture, I rather stupidly and naively believed that the imposition of sanctions would naturally lead to the full and total democratisation of Zimbabwe. I was wrong; totally wrong. The reality is that sanctions actually cause more harm, political suffering and socio-economic agony to the majority of innocent Zimbabweans, most of whom are not even political activists.

“After undertaking a thorough and deep study and introspection on the effects of sanctions on the generality of the people of Zimbabwe, I then reached my Damascus (sic) moment and began to appreciate how evil, toxic and retrogressive sanctions are against the welfare of the majority of my Zimbabwean compatriots,” he said.

“Thus, I’m unashamedly and passionately calling for the lifting of all forms of sanctions that were imposed against Zimbabwe by the major Western powers such as the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.”

African leaders including South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa have called for the removal of the targeted measures that were imposed on Zimbabwe at the turn of the century over accusations of human rights violations and electoral fraud.

Then President Mugabe’s decision to sponsor the chaotic land redistribution programme and violence as well as reports of rigging in successive elections especially since 2000 have been used as a pretext to continuously renew the measures by the US in particular. The European Union has scaled its measures to leave only Mugabe, his wife former First Lady Grace and a handful of government controlled companies.

Mugabe and his successor President Emmerson Mnangaga have all blamed the sanctions on Zimbabwe’s economic and social problems.